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|Index||24 reviews in total|
Not high art, not even exceptionally innovative, but a thoroughly
movie. Funny, fresh, intelligent - there are still people out there who
don't need millions of dollars to hide that they're out of ideas.
When you compare this to your average Hollywood action flick, you're comparing a homemade meal with a big mac.
I've recently seen An zhan. Not because it was a Hong Kong film, but because I was looking for a change from the films being produced here in the US. In my humble opinion, I believe the film could easily compete against the action thrillers being produced here, except for the traditional idiocyncracies of Hong Kong film. The one that still bothers me was the chief inspector character. I still don't understand why there has to be a complete-idiot-comic-relief-type character even in the serious films that come out of Hong Kong, but I can live with it when the movie is this good. The characters are believable even if the situations they are in are not. The story is fast paced and really sucks you in to it. The real cincher scenes for me were the two bus rides that the thief character takes. Overall, a really solid film.
Lifeline, A Hero Never Dies, and you think he couldn't top himself off. This film manages to be one of the most intelligent action films ever made and still fits in a compelling love story told in three scenes better than most films can tell a love story in the entire film. The gag premise, a man with 4 weeks to live takes on the Hong Kong police is only part of the brilliance of the film. I have to thanks the script writer for a constantly innovative script, as much as Johnny and I await their next collaboration with much anticipation.
If you're familiar with the work of auteur Johnny To and his band of
filmmaking cronies over at Milky Way, you know what to expect with this
latest production. All the familiar elements are in place: the strong
camaraderie between two characters: usually a cop and a baddie, the
coincidences and chances that turn on a dime and pay off handsomely in the
end, and the humor that arises even in the most dire of
Andy Lau plays a man who has 72 hours to live and decides to rob an insurance company. Lau Ching-Wan (also brilliant in other Milky Way films like "Longest Nite," "A Hero Never Dies," and "Where A Good Man Goes") portrays a hostage negotiator/cop who is on the robber's tail, even as the robber sets up a series of tricks and clues that he must follow in order to get his man.
Funny, poignant, and cool while being subtle, "Running" is actually one of the most entertaining Milky Way films to date. Don't miss the performances by the two leads, esp. Andy Lau, usually considered an average actor who has rarely been this natural and fun to watch. This film is one to go out of your way to see.
I just purchased An Zhan (Running out of time) on DVD and it was an excellent film I must say. Not really action-packed, in terms of gun play, but definitely exciting and witty. I do not think I have seen Andy Lau in better form. And the editing on this film was very well executed. Go watch this now if you are a fan of Lau or HK thiller/action film!
This film was recommended to me by a friend. I don't know much about Hong Kong cinema, but having seen Aau Chin, I definately want to find out more. I really enjoyed it, and found it was surprisingly different from what I was expecting. I had prepared myself for lots of big fights, lots of blood and gore, and more than a little machismo. What I got was a sad, sensitive and suprisingly funny bit of cinema. Ok, so there are gunfights, car chases and bombs a plenty, but there is also something else - a heart. I really liked the interaction between the two leads, I think it worked really well, and I loved the fact that the criminal and the cop were working together. The love story was terribly romantic, and even the 'purely for laughs' role of the chief inspector was done quite nicely. As an introduction to Hong Kong cinema, I'd say this was perfect.
Having seen 'only' about 200 Hong Kong films in my time, I have to say this film is among my very top favorites. Not only is the plot engaging (and in some ways surprising, which these days is rare for any movie), but the chemistry between the two lead actors is superb. Top notch casting! And while often even the most serious HK films tend to insert quite a bit of humor in between all the drama and action, often spoiling the mood a bit, here the jokes are kept subtle and woven into the plot, even improving character relations. The music is also very well done, and the two main themes are very beautiful. With the release of the HK special Edition, they've even cleaned the picture (first release was grainy) and the subtitles, even if the quality of the translation is still lacking (nothing new there). All in all, if you have to see a HK film that isn't directed by John Woo or have Chow Yun Fat in it, this should be at least on your short list! A truly fascinating and entertaining watch!
Andy Lau and Lau Ching-Wan are both superb in Johnny To's tautly directed crime thriller which puts most Western efforts to shame. Think of it as the Hong Kong 'Heat', only better! Everything about the film screams class; from the performances to the soundtrack, the cinematography to the script. The tone remains serious throughout, but the film has a nice line in black-humour, friendship and romance at it's heart. Sure, it gets a little preposterous later on, but it would be a hard-hearted viewer who didn't find something to love about this movie. Thank God, Hollywood hasn't (yet) re-made and ruined a classic. Do yourself a favour and see this film!
Terrific, deeply moving crime thriller starring Andy Lau and Lau Ching
From the dizzying opening sequence to the extremely satisfying conclusion, this cat and mouser hardly misses a beat.
Johnny To, again working with ace composer Arthur Wong, constructs another operatic actioner that grots in the face of its contemporaries.
To's images are strong and moving. His cutting, combined with the extraordinary music cues, is exemplary. You are in the hands of a master cinematician.
The two sequences in which Andy Lau "hides" from the cops on a bus by pretending to accompany a lithe beauty (Ruby Wong) are testament to To's unique directorial skills.
Lau Ching Wan is strong and commanding as the harassed cop while Andy Lau is dynamic as a dying man avenging his father's death.
This is superb movie-making, only mildly compromised by some bad English dubbing in one scene with criminal Waise Lee.
These are my thoughts after re-watching Aau Chin on a VCD recently
bought at HK$15 (definitely NOT a pirated version). I still found it
The "setup", while not brilliant, is carefully done, with attention to details. No doubt the audience will find the total incompetence of the villiant "Baudy" quite unbelievable. But he only serves as something on which the duel between the two heroes is built.
Here's is where this film differs from many others in this genre (most notably John Woo's), in which the two heroes usually start off in sharp confrontations, although they may end up appreciating each other. Not here. Right from the beginning, Lau Ching-wan and Andy Lau give you the impression that they are engaged in no more than a friendly game of chess. I, for one, like this arrangement, as a refreshing change.
Lau Ching-wan delivers his usual easy style that is well liked by his audience. He is the mouse in this cat-and-mouse game, a dignified mouse, for that matter. Andy Lau is the cool cat, actually too cool. Hong Kong movie stars who are also Canto pop stars (and that accounts for some 90% of them) often have to watch the role they play in movies to ensure that they wouldn't tarnish their image as a singer. Andy Lau, however, is so popular that I don't think he needs that caution. He just like to look cool in this movie. Didn't hurt either, as it won him his first Hong Kong Oscar.
Finally, while this is a good movie from director Johnny To, my top favorite of his is The Mission, in which style is king.
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